Thursday, January 16, 2014

60% of Surveyed Rural Telcos Offer Mobile, Fixed Wireless Services

Some 60 percent of about 31 rural telcos surveyed by NTCA:The Rural Broadband Association report they are providing “wireless service” to their customers, including both mobile and fixed wireless services, using a mixture of owned spectrum and facilities as well as resale or agency agreements with mobile service providers.

Some 82 percent sell fixed broadband Internet access (29 percent say they also sell fixed voice using wireless), while 49 percent sell  mobile services.

Of the respondents not currently offering wireless or mobile service, some 30 percent are considering doing so.

About 60 percent of independent and smaller rural U.S. telcos surveyed by NTCA:The Rural Broadband Association report they own at least one wireless license in the frequency range
below 2.3 GHz, according to NTCA.

Some 70 percent of carriers owning a license below 2.3 GHz have a 700 MHz license, 47 percent have an AWS license, 47 percent a PCS license, 13 percent some other license
(such as microwave), 11 percent cellular, six percent paging, and two percent SMR. For the most part, those are “access” frequencies.

About 21 percent of the 31 reporting companies hold at least one license above 2.3 GHz. About half of service providers holding a license above 2.3 GHz have a BRS license, 25 percent an LMDS license, 17 percent a 3.65 GHz, 17 percent a license at 11 GHz, and 17 percent a microwave license. While BRS and LMDS are “access” frequencies, the others likely are used for trunking.

The average cumulative investment in wireless facilities, excluding spectrum, is
$6.2 million, while average cumulative investment in spectrum totaled $646 thousand.
About 46 percent of respondents are using unlicensed spectrum to provide some
wireless services.

About 28 percent of those respondents offering mobile service  resell another carrier’s service under their own brand, and 21 percent do so under a national brand. So 39 percent “resell” or have an agency agreement.

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